Nov
01
2018
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Asana launches $19.99 Business tier to help managers handle multiple projects

Asana, the platform where people can create and track the progress of work projects, made its name originally as a place where individuals and smaller teams can create and track the progress of a specific project. Now, as the startup courts bigger organizations among its 50,000 paying organizations and millions of (paying and free) users globally, it is adding another tier for enterprises that are using Asana for multiple projects: Asana Business, priced at $19.95 per user, per month.

Aimed primarily at teams that have managers or executives overseeing multiple projects simultaneously — sometimes in the thousands for a single organization — the idea is that Business will have extra features to help designated people handle and triage that workload more effectively.

Asana co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz

“Our role is to help leaders understand where their attention can be most useful and what to be focused on,” Dustin Moskovitz, pictured, the co-founder and CEO of Asana, said to me in an interview recently.

That focus on executives and managers is one part of the company’s bigger vision of where it sees its own place in the range of productivity tools that a business might use, alongside other areas like efficient storage (à la Dropbox, Box or another cloud-based service) or communication (e.g. Slack, Workplace, Teams, etc.).

Asana is also not alone in its category; other alternatives include Airtable, Write, Trello and Basecamp, another reason the company is on the path to continue innovating and finding ways to make its service more sticky.

The new Asana Business tier includes a couple of specific new tools that will differentiate it from Teams (Asana’s $9.99/user/month tier for groups of more than five) and Enterprise (the tier that you need to speak to an account manager to determine pricing). In all cases, the pricing is based on buying an annual subscription: prices are higher if you pay by the month.

The first, Portfolio, will give a manager a way of viewing what everyone in an organization is working on in Asana — a “mission control” that provides a single view of what is going on, which can be useful for figuring out more big-picture progress or to oversee a larger project that has multiple streams of work within it.

Alongside that, it’s also soon going to launch another feature in Business called Workloads, which will let managers then assign people to projects or redeploy them, based on what they are seeing progress through the Portfolios tool.

The two features, Asana hopes, will mean that organizations will not only get better insights into their current projects on the platform, but might be enticed to buy into using it for more of them. Alex Hood, the company’s head of product (who joined a year ago after many years at Intuit), noted that it’s something that companies had already been trying to address themselves to some degree. “We’ve seen customers hack solutions together,” he said. So, it seemed like time to make it into a more formal tool, Hood said.

The company’s move to add another tier to generate more revenue comes on the heels of Asana raising $75 million on a $900 million valuation earlier this year — money that Moskovitz told TechCrunch is still largely in the bank.

“We’re not yet profitable, but we’re rapidly approaching it,” he said, describing Asana to me as a “high-volume SaaS business, very efficient and very successful.” The company is not in sight of an IPO, he added, but it seems that it is just getting started on what more it might add to the platform to make it more sticky and useful to the average business user. 

Key on that roadmap, Hood said, is the use of more machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools in the creation of new features — something that the company first introduced through Timeline, introduced in March, which knits together different project threads to start creating a bigger overview of what is going on.

One new feature that Asana is working on is a way to highlight when projects might not be going to plan, or that there are areas that have yet to be addressed — and then suggest ways of helping to fix things through the redeployment of people.

Another area that Asana is exploring is how to use AI to match people better to projects. Hood said that it’s now working on a system that might be able to suggest where an employee or team member might get assigned — for example, using the profile of a person that invited you into a team as an indicator of where you might be working.

Mar
06
2018
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Worklytics wants to cut down on lame meetings and help make teams more efficient

 If you’ve ever been stuck in a boring meeting, chances are you might spend the time busy answering messages from email or Slack — or even just browsing around the Internet while you wait for it to finally end. And there are a lot of factors that go into making that meeting boring, from the content to the person actually delivering it. Phillip Arkcoll knows that problem quite well,… Read More

May
11
2017
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Salesforce aims to save you time by summarizing emails and docs with machine intelligence

 We have all seen the studies — some American workers spend upwards of six hours a day handling email. It’s not a great use of time, it destroys productivity and it ultimately costs businesses money. A new paper written by a team Salesforce MetaMind researchers could eventually provide summaries of professional communication. More effective text summarization tools would… Read More

Apr
19
2017
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Sapho gets $14M more to make legacy software more useful with ‘micro apps’

 In recent years, Microsoft, Facebook and Slack (and many more) have all built new productivity platforms for workers to integrate and communicate about dozens of other API-enabled enterprise apps, but what about productivity tools for those enterprises that have no appetite or budget to rip out and replace software that they’ve been using for years? Well, there’s an app for… Read More

Mar
08
2017
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Amazon’s AWS acquired meeting productivity startup Do to expand Chime

A business meeting in a conference room. Amazon has quietly made one more acquisition to build out the productivity services on its cloud platform AWS. The company has acquired Do.com, a startup that had built a platform to make meetings more productive by doing things like managing notes in preparation for them, and creating reports for those who were not there, as well as organising the meetings themselves. Amazon is… Read More

Jan
12
2017
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Microsoft launches StaffHub, a new Office 365 app aimed at shift workers

staffhub Microsoft today unveiled the newest addition to its Office 365 suite with the debut of an application for shift workers and management, called StaffHub. The program is aimed at those who don’t tend to work from desktop computers and have different schedules from week to week, such as in retail, hospitality, restaurants and other industries.
The program was originally introduced in… Read More

Sep
15
2016
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Task management app Asana takes on the spreadsheet with ‘custom fields’

asana Asana — the enterprise SaaS business started by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early Facebook employee Justin Rosenstein — has made a name for itself as a workflow and task management app that aims to help teams be more productive by making it much easier to figure out what needs to get done. But today, the company is taking the wraps off a new service that will… Read More

Sep
13
2016
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Evernote is moving all its data, machine learning tech to Google Cloud Platform

evernote Evernote — the popular note taking and productivity startup with 200 million users — has built its reputation around an app that lets you record and track all your life’s details hold them there, for life. Today, the company is shifting gears on the question of how it will keep hold of and track that information: Evernote has announced that it is migrating all of its… Read More

Aug
01
2016
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Salesforce buys word processing app Quip for $750M

quip-screen Salesforce is continuing its buying spree to expand the kinds of cloud-based apps and services that it offers to its customers beyond basic CRM. The company has just announced that it is acquiring Quip, the cloud-based word processing app that was co-founded by Bret Taylor, formerly CTO of Facebook. We understand from two sources very close to the deal that the total price is $750 million. Read More

Jun
15
2016
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Sapho, maker of single-purpose enterprise ‘micro apps’, raises $9.5M led by Alsop Louie

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 14.48.18 We are in the middle of a major wave of startups building software to improve workplace productivity; now a company focused on making legacy enterprise apps more useful (and used) is picking up traction and announcing funding. Sapho — which builds what it refers to as “micro apps” for older software that does not already offer notifications whenever data is updated or… Read More

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